Looks like a new family tradition is brewing in Nashville. Krystal Keith, the daughter of country star Toby Keith, is currently working on her debut album, Whiskey & Lace, due out later this year. However, because of the excitement generated by her song, “Daddy Dance With Me,” Krystal’s label rushed a special self-titled four-song EP to retailers in order to start introducing the new artist to fans.
Produced by Toby and Mark Wright (Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack), the EP makes quick work showing off different sides of the recent University of Oklahoma graduate. Though Toby co-wrote three of the album’s four tracks, he didn’t have a hand in “Daddy Dance With Me,” a song that Krystal co-wrote and recorded as a surprise gift for her father on her wedding day. A wedding song from the unique perspective of the bride, “Daddy Dance With Me” showcases a confident young singer with a strong voice. Set against piano and twinkling guitars, Krystal’s performance carries shades of artists like Reba and Faith Hill while she delivers a sterling neo-traditional ballad. Today I became his wife, she sings lovingly before adding, but I’ll be your baby girl for life.
Toby certainly had a large part in bringing the project to life, but Krystal stays true to her own course through most of the EP. With bluesy B-3 keys and a swampy acoustic rhythm section, “Can’t Buy You Money” offers the story of a poor family rich with love. Delivering the EP’s most comfortable vocal, Krystal’s subtle inflections sound so natural that even lines like, I got three kids on the floor and one on the way, which are obviously untrue, come off as easily relatable in order to connect deeply with listeners. The same can be said of album opener, “Doin’ It,” a warm summer song that celebrates country music and a simpler life. Reba’s influence is a bit more pronounced here as Krystal displays a love for strong female country singers with an assured and assertive approach.
Krystal sounds most like her father’s daughter on “What Did You Think I’d Do,” an uptempo and approachable love song with a big pop-laced hook. Running through descending melodies in the chorus, her phrasing twists and turns with a feel reminiscent of her dad’s in songs like “God Love Her.” He ain’t a dead beat, he ain’t a trendsetter, he’s right in the middle, she sings with a fantastic touch for timing. They say timing is everything, and by introducing herself now with a strong four-song set, Krystal creates even greater excitement for her upcoming full-length debut.